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Ball Corp (BLL) Q4 Earnings & Sales Top Estimates, Up Y/Y

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Zacks Equity Research
·5 min read
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Ball Corporation BLL reported fourth-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings of 81 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 78 cents. The bottom line also improved 14% on a year-over-year basis. The quarterly results reflect solid global beverage-can volume growth and aerospace backlog.

On a reported basis, the company posted earnings of 68 cents per share compared with the prior-year quarter’s 48 cents.

Total sales were $3,102 million in the reported quarter, up 14% from the year-ago quarter. The top line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,955 million. Global beverage-can volumes were up 12% in the quarter.

Operational Update

Cost of sales amounted to $2,448 million in fourth-quarter 2020, up 13.4% from the year-ago quarter. Gross profit totaled $654 million compared with the year-ago quarter’s $560 million. Gross margin came in at 21% during the reported quarter, flat year over year.

Selling, general and administrative expenses soared 82% year over year to $162 million. Adjusted operating profit improved 6.5% year over year to $362 million. Adjusted operating margin came in at 11.7% compared with the prior-year quarter’s 12.5%.

Ball Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Ball Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Ball Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Ball Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Ball Corporation Quote

Segment Performance

The Beverage packaging North and Central America segment revenues increased to $1,301 million during fourth-quarter 2020 from the year-ago quarter’s $1,111 million. Operating earnings came in at $139 million during the reported quarter, flat year over year.

Sales at the Beverage packaging, EMEA segment were $768 million in the fourth quarter, up 19.6% year over year. Operating earnings increased 43.2% year over year to $106 million.

The Beverage packaging South America segment’s revenues increased to $529 million in the fourth quarter from the prior-year period’s $460 million. Operating earnings rose to $107 million from the year-earlier quarter’s $95 million.

In the Aerospace segment, sales were up 5.5% year over year to $420 million. Operating earnings increased to $39 million from the year-ago quarter figure of $37 million. At the end of 2020, the segment’s contracted backlog was $2.4 billion. Contracts already won but not yet booked into current contracted backlog was $5.5 billion.

Financial Condition

Ball Corporation reported cash and cash equivalents of $1,366 million at the end of 2020, down from the $1,798 million witnessed at the end of the 2019. Cash flow from operating activities was $1,432 million in 2020 compared with $1,548 million in 2019. The company’s long-term debt increased to $7.8 billion at the end of 2020 from $6.3 billion at the end of 2019.

2020 Results

Ball Corporation reported adjusted earnings per share of $2.97 in 2020, up 17.4% from the prior-year reported figure of $2.53. Earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.93. Including one-time items, the bottom line came in at $1.76, up 6% from the $1.66 reported in 2019.

Sales rose 2.7% year over year to $11.8 billion from the prior-year figure of $11.5 billion. The top line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $11.6 billion.

Outlook

Given the significant rise in contracted volumes and backlog, the company anticipates current-year capital expenditures to exceed $1.5 billion. Ball Corporation continues to expect long-term diluted earnings per share growth goal of at least 10-15%.

Share Price Performance

Ball Corporation's shares have gained 18.7% over the past year compared with the industry’s growth of 17.9%.



Zacks Rank and Other Stocks to Consider

Ball Corp currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Some other top-ranked stocks in the industrial products sector are AGCO Corporation AGCO, AptarGroup Inc. ATR and Crown Holdings, Inc. CCK. While AGCO flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), AptarGroup and Crown Holdings carry a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

AGCO has an expected earnings growth rate of 15.8% for the current fiscal year. The company’s shares have gained around 60% in the past year.

AptarGroup has an expected earnings growth rate of 14.4% for the current fiscal. The company’s shares have appreciated around 17% in the past year.

Crown Holdings has an estimated earnings growth rate of 11.7% for the current fiscal year. The company’s shares have rallied nearly 21% over the past year.

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